Relief Work as Pilgrimage--new title from Lexington Books

In 1945, Elsie C. Bechtel left her Ohio home for the tiny French commune of Lavercantière, where for nearly three years she cared for children displaced by the ravages of war. Bechtel’s diary, photographs, and letters home to her family provide the central texts of this study. From 1945 to 1948, she recorded her encounters with French society and her immersion in the spare beauty of rural France. From her daily work came passionate musings on the emotional world of human interactions and evocative observations of the American, Spanish, and French co-workers and children with whom she lived. Bechtel’s writings emerged from a religious context that included much travel, but little reflection on the significance of that travel. Yet, religiously motivated travel—an old tradition in southwest France—shaped Bechtel’s life. The authors consider her experiences in terms of religious pilgrimage and reflect on their own pilgrimage to Lavercantière in 2006 for a reunion with some of the people marked by the broader effort that Bechtel joined.  

Authors M. J. Heisey is associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Nancy R. Heisey is professor of biblical studies and church history at Eastern Mennonite University.

Hardback: ISBN 978-1-4985-0810-0 September 2015 194 pages Regular price: $80.00 / After discount: $56.00 eBook: ISBN 978-1-4985-0811-7 Regular price: $79.99 / After discount: $55.99 Relief Work as Pilgrimage “Mademoiselle Miss Elsie” in Southern France, 1945–1948 By M. J. Heisey and Nancy Heisey Special 30% OFF discount offer!* To get discount, use code LEX30AUTH15 when ordering *May not be combined with other offers and discounts, valid until 08/15/16

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Posted by Nancy R. Heisey
Eastern Mennonite University
Posted on 30 Oct 2015 - 2:02pm